New research by the Chartis Center for Rural Health has found that current and pending federal health policies are putting a bigger financial strain on already struggling rural hospitals.
The report found the percentage of rural and critical access hospitals working at a negative operating margin has increased from 40 to 44 percent.
The report looked at legislation that the Chartis Center says is hurting rural hospitals. None of the policies they looked at were specifically targeted at rural health care, but the side effect of the policies, including sequestration, is that rural hospitals can expect to lose an additional 12,000 jobs and 550 million dollars in revenue within a year.
The report also looked at the recently signed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Researchers say the bill triggered something called Pay As You Go rules. Unless waived by Congress, providers could see a two percent or four percent reduction in Medicare revenue. This would translate into either a $348 million or $697 million loss in revenue for rural providers, depending on the percentage reduction.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.